Free: Answering questions about freelance + miscellaneous stuff
Welcome to another edition of your favourite neighbourhood freelancing newsletter.
As I had mentioned in the last newsletter, I will be ending this newsletter on Substack in December. I may take it to another platform or just stop writing it altogether — I haven’t figured that out yet. If you have any clarifications about your subscription/ payment, please reach out.
This edition’s newsletter has two interviews with PR professionals about going freelance, pitch calls, jobs, and other helpful hints. If you want to subscribe, reply here or email me.
The free version has my thoughts on freelancing, some jobs and miscellaneous items.
Ready? Let’s begin.
(It’s a one-side conversation, this)
Here, I answer some common questions I have been asked over the course of sending out this newsletter.
What do think about before going freelance?
Ask yourself a few simple questions. What do you want to write about? How much time are you willing to spend on each story? How much field reporting do you want to do? What are the subjects you have knowledge about? The answers will help narrow your focus and find your niche. Then, start reading publications online to find a good home for your ideas. This is basic groundwork and may sound tedious but, is absolutely necessary. Connect with networks of freelancers offline and online, on writing groups or Twitter. If you have writing samples, create an online portfolio for yourself.
Is it difficult being a freelancer?
YES. Freelancing takes time, patience and perseverance. You have to build a reputation for yourself. You have to learn to deal with rejections, and the irregularity of payments. You have to nurture relationships with editors and publications. You have to hone your skills.
You are writer, ideator, marketer (for yourself), accountant, and many more.
How do you write the perfect pitch?
The perfect pitch doesn’t exist. Ask anybody.
There is a broad outline but style, details, word limit, etc vary. Every publication has different criteria and guidelines for their pitches. Do your homework and check out their websites for this information – most foreign publications have a thorough guide. You have to tailor a pitch for each publication.
A good pitch doesn’t have to be a long one. There are some exceptions – if you are writing a longform piece, a long pitch will do it justice. I try and limit my pitches to two paragraphs, with a clear headline.
Your story should have some value: it could be a new report or a news adjacent feature. Even if it’s a feature, it should be different from what’s already available.
Your subject line in the email must catch the editor’s eye. Think clickbait! This is the first thing an editor will see in her/his inbox. It’s the first step to getting noticed.
Do you pitch simultaneously?
I do, if it’s a topical pitch and has an immediate news value. I limit myself to two, at the most, five publications. I also tell the editor that I am pitching to other media. It’s good to be honest. Or you can give yourself a deadline: if you do not hear back by XYZ time, send it on.
How to plan your earnings?
The best way to approach this: have a target earning for the month and accordingly set a number of articles paying a certain rate to get published every month. Pitch accordingly.
These are very basic questions. If you have any other queries, do email me.
JOB: Vibes of India seeks four experienced part/full time Gujarati to English translators to recreate stories written by reporters from Gujarati to English. Email hr@vibesofIndia.com
JOB: Get Plum HQ has roles open in digital marketing and growth, product marketing, social media, and content. DM Shreyas
FELLOWSHIP: The Antler India Fellowship is a 16-week fellowship that gives student founders an equity-free grant of $20,000 (or Rs 15,00,000) to tinker around, experiment, fail, rebuild & learn along the way. Deadline: December 12. More details, here.
RESOURCE: Journalists, if you want a second opinion on an article or urgent legal assistance, reach out to Patrakar Clinic (they advocate for press freedom and independent journalism in India). Free
A reminder: I will be shutting this newsletter (on Substack) in December. You can always email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries.
Before going, a thought:
Until next time,